No music collection is complete without the live albums seen below. For years, the list has remained stable, but now, unexpectedly, from out of nowhere, another monster live set enters the pantheon of the greatest live music albums ever recorded.
Totally Amazing is a 22-track collection recorded somewhere out there on the Indian casino and Vegas showroom circuit, and it’s a powerhouse performance by a man who represents the best of a vanishing breed: the singer who stands alone in a tuxedo before a big swinging band, armed only with a microphone, charisma and a voice that brings down the house.
That man is Engelbert Humperdinck.
Engelbert has never gotten the respect he deserves. With his romantic, string-washed backing and schmaltzy country western repertoire, the sideburned Casanova was always an also-ran to his to Sixties stablemate Tom Jones. But life in Vegas, high-roller showrooms and a thousand theatres-in-the-round as an Elvis standard-bearer has honed his voice and act into something magnificent. Backed by a powerhouse band that includes an uncredited sax player who gives Sam Butera a run for his money, Engelbert rolls out the hits, standards and entertaining curveballs with a self-deprecating humour and saloon singer command before an enthusiastic crowd that based on the singalongs (and he does the singalongs better than Do Ho in his prime) is made up entirely of women!
They don’t make albums like this anymore, not since the 1960s and 1970s, when Humpy was in his prime. Now, at age 70, marking his fortieth year in the business, Engelbert has created a modern classic, with a pristine sound, taking the listener inside the showroom experience that culminates with a very distinct version of My Way.
This is the sound of Elvis Presley if he'd taken care of himself. This is Tom Jones if he grew up. This is what Robbie Williams should strive for. And on the back cover photo, Engelbert is almost indistinguishable from Gene Simmons.
Totally Amazing is totally amazing! It’s up there with Sinatra at The Sands, Sammy Davis Jr. at The Cocoanut Grove as one of the best live albums ever recorded! No kidding!
The live list:
Wayne Newton In Person!... Sinatra at The Sands... Tom Jones Live in Las Vegas... Sammy Davis, Jr. at The Cocoanut Grove... Elvis: The Alternate Aloha Concert... Don Ho Live at The Polynesian Palace... Allen Sherman, the Boston Pops & Arthur Fiedler: Peter & The Commissar... Oasis: Familiar To Millions... Merle Haggard: Okie from Muskogee, Recorded Live in Muskogee, Oklahoma...Slim Dusty Live at Wagga Wagga... Louis Prima, Keely Smith & Sam Butera: The Capitol Sessions... Donny Hathaway Live... Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison... The Allman Brothers Live at The Fillmore East... Darin at The Copa... and introducing... Engelbert Humperdinck: Totally Amazing!
That's Tabloid Baby's list. Did we leave anyone out?